Tim Gallagher points to this BBC video of Golden Eagles hunting reindeer, and reminds me that a link to my piece on Darwin’s pigeons is up at Living Bird.
Meanwhile MaryBeth Rogers sends this link to paragliding with eagles (well, mostly vultures, but it still looks like fun!)
An unfortunate Golden eagle was taken from a falconer who had rescued it and given to the RSPCA, who managed to kill it.
“Mr Lupton sought permission from the Scottish Executive to remove the bird and nurse her at his specialist premises at Hollingsbourne. Without authority he would be liable to a £5,000 fine and up to six months in prison for removing a bird from the wild.
Mr Lupton said that he told official from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) about his plans. In May 5 his home and aviaries were raided by three officers from Kent Police, a policeman on secondment to Defra’s animal heath section and a wildlife crimes investigator from the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds.
“I explained everything to them but they were adamant they were going to remove the wild golden eagle and accused me of the illegal theft of the bird and keeping an unregistered bird,” he said.
“But what really appalled me is that they had no understanding of how to deal with such a bird. They brought the wrong box to carry the bird, I had to lend them one of my own.”
“The bird was taken to the Mallydam wildlife centre in Sussex, run by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Mr Lupton was formally questioned by police, who passed the matter to the Crown Prosecution Service, but the case was dropped.
“He was concerned about the eagle’s fate and was allowed to visit the premises with his vet. “I was horrified by what I saw,” he said. “The RSPCA was keeping the bird on a concrete floor, which is bad for its talons, and there was leaf mould on the roof of the room, which can cause lung infections in golden eagles.”
A month later he was allowed to take the bird home. Her condition had badly deteriorated and his local vet took blood tests. The bird was found to be suffering lead poisoning and Mr Lupton learnt that it had been fed on rabbits which had been shot with lead pellet.
On June 17 he took the bird to a centre in Swindon run by Neil Forbes, an avian veterinary surgeon. The eagle died 12 hours late.”
But at least he wasn’t used for FALCONRY. HT Annie Hocker.
Also from Annie H : raptors are at serious risk from Avian flu.
On a cheerier note; pigeons are still being used to carry messages (in this case photos) in Colorado. I wonder if they still have to throw out decoy birds for the falcons first like the old Grand Canyon boatmen did?